The coming weeks and months will see further growth achieved by the AHV Ireland team.

“We have a total of 13 vacancies at the present time throughout Ireland, due to increased demand,” AHV managing director, Adam Robinson told Agriland.

“When these positions are filled, which will include the appointment of a practising veterinary surgeon, the employment numbers within the business will be in excess of 50 full-time staff.”

AHV and Irish dairy farms

The plans for an increased workforce is evidence that the AHV concept is making a huge difference to dairy farms on the island of Ireland.

Robinson continued: “The development of the business has been achieved on the back of a commitment to provide farmer-customers with a personalised advice service.”

AHV’s launch coincided with a growing recognition at farm level that the need to reduce the level of antibiotic usage within the livestock sector is a priority.

However, Robinson was quick to claim that these developments have not been the sole driver for the success of AHV.

He said:

“The real driving force has been the growing recognition amongst farmers that they must strive to improve the general health standards of their herds, across the board.

“And if they manage to achieve this, then the need to use traditional methods will drop accordingly.”  

He went on to make the point that information is power, adding:

“Take dairy as an example. Milk recording is proving crucially important in delivering vital information on each animal where health challenges are concerned.

“Farmers with milking robots can access this information on a real-time basis. Also, on farms with a traditional milking system, the monthly milk recording reports can be used as a powerful management tool.

“Information is one thing, but having the ability to use it effectively in making meaningful management decisions, is the next step in the process. And this is where AHV is playing such a key role on farms the length and breadth of the country,” Robinson added.

Innovation and science in AHV

Adam Robinson went on to explain that innovative and proven science is the driving force behind the AHV operation.

“The use of Quorum Sensing (QS) technology assists the animal’s own immune system to fight a health challenge. As a result, the animal is healthy and productive again with a lot less risk of becoming a cull cow,” he explained.

“It’s noteworthy that large numbers of farmers are now moving beyond the principle of using AHV as a fire-fighting mechanism to deal with specific health-related problems.

“Rather, they are utilising a concept that can be applied on a proactive basis to coincide with major stress periods within a cow’s lactation cycle. These include calving, the first few weeks of the new lactation, bulling and at drying-off.”

Educating farmers

AHV sales manager for the Republic of Ireland, George Sherlock, said: “Our primary role is that of educating farmers. To make this approach work requires a continuing and active input involving staff and customers at farm level.

“Efficacy of our solutions is proven. Explaining how to best use our solutions, what outcome the farmers can expect, and how these animals can best be managed, is the critical link in the chain.

“The starting point to all of this is putting everything in a proper context. We are not in the business of providing ‘miracle cures’,” he added.

“Take the issue of cows with severe udder health challenges like the members of the so-called ‘Millionaires’ Club’, which are consistently high on each recording and populate most dairy herds in Ireland.

“The reality is that it may not be possible to address such cases successfully, especially where older cows are concerned.

“However, younger cows and cows with a good history have a very high chance of success of becoming healthier, more productive and more profitable within the herd. AHV’s solutions act to generate this positive response.”

Animal welfare

The company says that it takes farmers time to understand the full impact of what AHV solutions can achieve and the benefits that the new QS technology can deliver.

However, AHV says that once this is understood, the full management benefits of this approach are quickly adopted by farmers.

AHV’s sales manager in Northern Ireland, Paul Marrs said: “The biggest advantage now recognised by farmers when it comes to the implementation of AHV protocols, is our absolute focus on reducing discomfort in the cow. This is achieved courtesy of our ASPI drench.”

Data not dates

“We are data driven rather than a date-driven business,” Adam Robinson added.

“However, EU regulation changes will kick in across the ruminant and monogastric sectors in approximately eight months’ time, in terms of how antimicrobials can be used within both industries.

“The AHV team is available to advise farmers on how best to meet these challenges in the most sustainable way possible,” he concluded.